Lady Warrior Skaters Come Back to Tie Westford Academy 3-3
Late in the third, sophomore Meagan Keefe scored two goals in 37 seconds late to tie things up.
It was not a win, but it sure felt like one for head coach Phil Rowley and the Andover High girls hockey squad.
"We played well enough for a W, but we'll have to take the tie," said Rowley.
The Lady Warriors, playing at the Phillips Academy Andover rink, trailed 3-1 with less than three minutes left in the game against Westford Academy. Sophomore Meagan Keefe sprinted down the right board and stuffed one in on Westford's goalie Jenny Grischuck to bring Andover within one with 2:55 to play.
Only 37 seconds later, senior captain Jill Manning fired a pass to Keefe setting up a breakaway. Keefe deked to her backhand and buried the biscuit to tie things up at three, where it stayed until the end.
"It felt good coming back from a 3-1 deficit," Rowley said.
The late comeback was fueled by linemates Manning and Keefe who have been facing recent medical issues.
Manning, playing in her first game this season, just recovered from meningitis while Keefe plays through asthma.
"She gives us 30-40 seconds, gives it all, and comes back and ready to go again," Rowley said of Keefe. "She's a nifty little player."
After a scoreless first period, Westford Academy captain Cara Curran opened the scoring in the second. She dangled through the right side and scored on the Warriors' sophomore goalie MacKenzie Dutton with just under seven minutes remaining in the second.
Curran's linemate Kim Lizotte made it 2-0 late in the second with a forehand, blocker-side shot that beat Dutton with 2:37 remaining. Westford Academy head coach Todd Fletcher was impressed with Lizotte's performance.
"She takes pride in the way that she plays," he said. "She doesn't get knocked off the puck easily and she plays with a little bit of an edge."
Andover did not sit back and with 31 seconds remaining in the period, got on the board after Westford Academy was guilty of having too many girls on the ice.
Senior defender Meghan Pierce whipped in a wrist shot from the top of the left circle on the blocker side to cut the Grey Ghosts' lead in half at the second intermission.
In the third period Westford Academy forward Stephanie Arno scooped up a loose puck right in front of the net and buried it to give the Grey Ghosts a two goal lead with 5:14 to play in the game.
Keefe's two goals tied things up for Andover whose comeback kept them from falling to 0-2. Westford Academy was overly aggressive on offense, leading to scoring opportunities for the Lady Warriors.
"We had forwards getting stuck on the offensive side, and then defensively we didn't have enough girls back," said Fletcher.
"We were making bad reads defensively," he added.
Westford Academy now sits at 1-1-1 on the young season while Andover still seeks its first victory at 0-1-1.
Andover was coming off a 6-3 loss to Lincoln-Sudbury, a disappointing way to start the 2010-11 campaign.
Andover will travel to Nashua, N.H. for its next game against Bishop Guertin High School. Though the teams are unfamiliar with each other, coach Rowley and his staff will look over tape from a scrimmage against them from last year.
The game will be on Tuesday afternoon at 2:30p.m. The Lady Warriors play next at home on Jan. 8 at 4p.m. against Chelmsford.